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A menacing tornado approaches a city skyline, highlighting the need for severe weather shelters in Oklahoma.

Norman & Oklahoma City Sheltering Showdown: Safe Room vs. Storm Cellar vs. Storm Shelter

Norman and Oklahoma City residents face frequent severe weather. Choosing the right shelter – safe room vs. storm cellar vs. storm shelter – depends on your needs.

When it comes to severe weather preparedness in Norman and Oklahoma City, having a designated shelter is crucial. But with terms like safe room, storm cellar, and storm shelter floating around, confusion can arise. This blog clarifies the distinctions between these options, helping you choose the best fit for your home.

Safe Room: The Indoor Haven

Safe rooms are fortified spaces built within your home, typically closets or bathrooms reinforced with concrete or Kevlar panels. They comply with Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards, ensuring they can withstand powerful winds and flying debris associated with tornadoes.


  • Easy access, especially during sudden storms.
  • No excavation is required, making them suitable for existing homes.
  • It can potentially double as a secure space for valuables.


  • Limited space compared to storm shelters or cellars.
  • It may not be suitable for homes without a sturdy foundation.

Storm Cellar: The Underground Option

Oklahoma storm shelters are essentially underground shelters specifically designed for sheltering during severe weather. Traditionally constructed from concrete, they offer a spacious and cool environment.


  • It provides the most comprehensive protection from tornadoes and flying debris.
  • It often includes ample space for additional supplies and furniture.
  • It offers a cool retreat during the hot summer months.


  • It requires excavation, making them more expensive and disruptive to install.
  • Access may be difficult or even impossible during flooding.
  • It can feel damp and require ventilation systems.

Storm Shelter: The Above-Ground Choice

Storm shelters are pre-fabricated structures typically made from steel or concrete, installed above ground near your home. They offer a secure haven during tornadoes and other severe weather events.


  • Relatively quick and affordable to install compared to storm cellars.
  • It can be anchored to various surfaces, including concrete slabs or basements.
  • Many come pre-fabricated with ventilation and storage options.


  • It may not offer the same level of protection from flying debris as underground options.
  • It requires dedicated space on your property.
  • It may not be aesthetically pleasing to all homeowners.

Open view of a safe room with reinforced walls and a secure door.

Choosing the Right Shelter for Your Needs

The ideal shelter for your Norman or Oklahoma City home depends on your budget, space limitations, and personal preferences. Here’s a quick breakdown to help you decide:

Safe rooms are ideal for those seeking a readily accessible and affordable option.

Storm cellars are perfect for homeowners with the space and budget for a permanent, below-the-ground solution.

Storm shelters offer a good balance between affordability, accessibility, and protection for many homeowners.

Regardless of your choice, having a designated shelter significantly increases your safety during severe weather. Oklahoma Shelters provides a comprehensive selection of safe rooms, storm shelters, and underground cement shelters across Oklahoma. All their shelters are meticulously crafted and rigorously tested to meet the exacting FEMA standards, ensuring your family’s safety during severe weather. Our expert team can help you assess your needs and recommend the best shelter for your Norman or Oklahoma City home.

Contact Oklahoma Shelters today for a free consultation and invest in your family’s safety!

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underground concrete storm shelter in Oklahoma

Essential Items To Stock In Your Storm Shelter

If you live in a tornado region, adding storm safe shelters in your homes is extremely important. It will keep you and your family safe from strong winds and flying debris. It’s also important to keep your storm shelters fully stocked for emergencies.

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Saving for a safe room can be challenging, but with a little financial planning, it's easier than you think!

Struggling with Budgeting for Your Storm Shelter? Here are 3 Tips

Storm shelters are essential for homeowners living in OKC and other parts of Oklahoma too. With the frequent tornadoes and how unpredictable these weather events can be, it’s important to invest in this addition to your home as soon as you are able to do so.

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This custom combination of a safe room and bunker offers both options for above and underground shelter.

3 Ways to Customize Your Storm Safe Room for Your Needs

Safe rooms are designed to offer you shelter and protection against tornadoes, which is why it’s crucial that they be accessible to every member of your household—and yes, that might include pets too.

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Your underground storm shelter is a great storage space for valuables and even food supplies.

Unique Uses of Your Storm Shelter During the Off-Season

Fortunately, Oklahoma has just exited its tornado season, with the chances of a tornado striking through fall and winter being relatively low. It’s not impossible, however, but there’s a good chance that you won’t have to worry about frequent ones.

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4 Tips on Replacing and Replenishing Supplies from Your Emergency Kits

Many of us hope to never see the day a disaster strikes, and we’re forced to rely on emergency kits and supplies. But living in Oklahoma where tornadoes and hurricanes are the norms, there’s very little room to go with the flow. You should have a storm shelter or tornado shelter in your home, and have it prepared with supplies. We’ve written about essentials on earlier blogs, but here we’ll discuss something different.

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3 Spooky Décor Ideas for Your Storm Shelter this Halloween

Living in Oklahoma, you’ve probably come to realize how essential having a storm shelter or underground bunker in your home is. But this practical investment and addition to your home doesn’t need to be anything boring; in fact, in addition to doubling as partial storage space during the off-season, it can also be handy for holidays and events such as Halloween.

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Get a tornado shelter installation during fall to have your home

Why Fall is the Perfect Time for Shelter Installations in Oklahoma

Fall is here, and for most parts of the Tornado Alley, we’re looking at relatively calmer weather for the next few months. Oklahoma is among those regions that typically see tornado season up until summer, which means now is safer, and tornadoes are less likely to occur. Not impossible, given how unpredictable they are, but less likely.

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Fall in Oklahoma sees a lot of shedding and change in foliage, which can lead to your shelter getting dirty.

4 Fall Care Tips for Your Outdoor Shelter

Fall is here, and Oklahoma sees a lot of change in weather, and of course, foliage! What this means is that you’ll most likely have leaves covering your yards, a lot more frequently too, and faster, more intense winds, which also probably means you’ll need to clean your yards out more frequently.

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Storm Shelters

Underground Slope Top Shelter

Concrete Shelter

Underground Garage Shelter

Garage Shelter

Installing Steel Safe Room

Steel Safe Room

Underground Bunker

Underground Bunker


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